Yao Ming may skip first Rockets preseason game

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Thumbnail image for Yao_workout.jpgYao Ming is impatient — he wants back on the court. Badly.

But after 18 months away from the game and a complex foot surgery he doesn’t want another setback. So he may miss the first preseason game (or more) he told the Houston Chronicle.

“When I was playing some scrimmage with some of the teammates in the last two weeks, I can’t say it (his surgically repaired left foot) is as good as the original one, the one on the right, but it feels as good as can be running on the court,” Yao said. “The foot limits me a little bit. I still have time to get it better before the regular season starts.

“I have not played a real game, even an exhibition game. I don’t know how it will react. Hopefully, we can learn as soon as possible.”

The Rockets open the preseason against Orlando (and Dwight Howard) on Oct. 5 in Hidalgo, Texas. The Rockets also are without backup center Brad Miller for a couple of weeks due to a sprained ankle.

Yao, as much as he wants to play, has to remember it’s the preseason. It matters less than the regular season games that start late October. And even missing those — or having your minutes limited to 24 a game to start — is not a big deal. With a healthy team and Yao come the playoffs, the Rockets are a popular dark horse pick in the West. Without him, they are not even making it that far. So rest.

Still, it sucks.

Dwight Howard crushes Kristaps Porzingis with dunk (video)

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Sometimes – as Kristaps Porzingis sees against Dwight Howard – it’s more flattering just to play James Harden-level defense.

Marc Gasol heads ball into basket after drawing foul (video)

Marc Gasol
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This was not Marc Gasol‘s first attempt to head in the ball after a whistle, but this time, he converted.

Here was his January try:


James Harden’s defense: Stop and point while opponent flies to rim (video)


As Rockets general manager Daryl Morey once noted, cherry-picking James Harden‘s worst defensive plays to create a video is unfair. Many players would look awful by that measure.

But Harden provides serious ammo for these worst-of videos.

This non-attempt to stop Lance Thomas is just brutal.

At least Houston buckled down to beat the Knicks, 116-111 in overtime. The Rockets have climbed to 26th in points allowed per possession.

Jerry Colangelo says Kobe Bryant could still make 2016 U.S. Olympic team

Kobe Bryant, Zachary Stinson
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So, Kobe Bryant‘s NBA career is officially going to come to an end after the 2015-16 season. That part he announced on Sunday.

What’s still up in the air is Bryant’s participation in one last Olympics. Bryant has been in consideration to make Team USA this summer at the games in Rio de Janeiro, and USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo tells ESPN.com’s Marc Stein that he hasn’t ruled that out yet:

Kobe was asked about this at his post-game press conference Sunday and said it was not a goal, but if it was offered he’d consider it.

“I’d be honored if that was there, it would be fantastic to be around that group and spend kind of the last journey with them,” Bryant said. “That being said, it’s not something that I’m obsessing over.”

‘When Bryant made it known that he wanted to play in Rio, he made it clear to Colangelo and Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski that he wanted to earn a spot, not be given one as a lifetime achievement award. Watching him so far this season, it’s almost impossible to imagine him making the roster on merit.

But nobody should begrudge him if he wanted to extend the farewell tour just a little bit longer.